Longtime West Deptford Municipal Court Judge Replaced
After presiding over West Deptford municipal court for close to two decades, Judge Guy Killen is being replaced with Joan Adams.
After close to two decades of service, Judge Guy Killen will not return as West Deptford’s municipal judge following Thursday night’s township committee meeting.
With a nomination by Committeeman Samuel Cianfarini, Judge Joan Adams was appointed to the seat by a 3-2 township committee vote—with both Democratic township committee members dissenting.
Following the township committee’s appointment, Adams will serve a three-year term as judge for the West Deptford Township Municipal Court. Township Administrator Eric Campo explained that the salary for municipal judge is fixed under the salary ordinance passed back in November of last year.
Killen's salary in 2011 was $31,750.
The committee was voting for the second time on this appointment, the topic of which surfaced early in the meeting when resident James Mehaffey spoke during the first public comment portion. Mehaffey questioned Mayor Raymond Chintall about his plans for a prospective candidate.
Chintall responded that he would once again vote for Adams, adding that he believed her to be well-qualified for the job. Mehaffey continued to press Chintall, who stated that former Judge Killen was not interviewed prior to the decision not to reappoint him.
“I don’t understand how someone who has dedicated 15 years of his life wasn’t even given the courtesy of an interview,” said Mehaffey.
When it came time to vote on the resolution, Cianfarini motioned for Adams, followed by a second from Deputy Mayor Sean Kilpatrick. Both Committeewomen Denice DiCarlo and Donna Szymborski opposed the motion.
Adams currently presides over the joint municipal court of Franklin Township and Buena Borough. She is also a partner in the Swedesboro-based law firm Adams & Adams, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her profile also shows that she is a graduate of the Dickinson School of Law at Penn State and formerly of the firm Rawle and Henderson, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP.
In the second wave of public comment, Mehaffey continued to voice his support for Killen.
Rehashing sentiments from a previous meeting, Chintall called Killen was too lenient of a municipal court judge, pulling from his own experiences as a law enforcement officer. Chintall said he watched Killen from the back of the courtroom on many occasions and disagreed with a majority of his rulings.
Chintall denied Mehaffey’s assertions that this was a political appointment. The commitee has appointed Republicans, Democrats and independents in the past, the mayor said.
The three-year appointment for a West Deptford municipal judge was rolled from the Feb. 21 township committee meeting after party line voting failed to produced a majority vote for either candidate.
With Cianfarini absent from that meeting, a motion from Kilpatrick to appoint Adams was dissolved in a 2-2 vote. Going the same way, DiCarlo motioned for the reappointment of Killen, but with both Chintall and Kilpatrick dissenting, the motion did not pass.